What all creators can learn from Taylor Swift
4 lessons from a prolific artist
Hey there —
It’s no secret that Taylor Swift is a big deal.
She’s one of the most prolific and adored musicians of our generation, having released 10 original albums, won 12 Grammys, and written dozens of songs for every scenario imaginable.
But Swift has more to give us than just songs to belt out on karaoke night — she’s a case study for creatives looking to deepen their craft or grow a loyal fanbase (calling all Swifties).
If you dig into Swift’s 19-year music career, you’ll uncover four overarching strategies she uses to create her music — and which just might be valuable for your own creative goals:
1. 📝 Capture those creative sparks. When Swift is writing a song, she’s face-down in her Notes app, which contains words and phrases that provide inspiration for her lyrics.
For example, Swift first wrote down the phrase “Lavender Haze” (a 1950’s term to describe the all-encompassing feeling of being in love)while watching Mad Men. Later on, she used this as the basis for her song about protecting her romantic relationship from the tabloids.
If something catches your attention or inspires an idea, save it — even if you have to figure out exactly how to use it later.
2. 🏄🏼♀️ Ride the wave. Swift writes her songs all in one go. “I kind of have to capitalize on the excitement of me getting that idea and see it all the way through or else I’ll leave it behind and I’ll just assume it wasn’t good enough,” she says.
If you’re struck by an idea, don’t wait too long to take action. Ride the wave of excitement and use it as motivation to actually finish [insert magic project here].
3. 🧑🔬 Never stop experimenting. From country girl to pop-star queen, Swift is a pro when it comes to experimenting with genres and styles. And she’s living proof that “finding your niche” isn’t a binding decision.
You can always adapt your style down the line if you feel yourself evolving, as Swift acknowledges: “If I continue to write songs about my life, and my life is always changing, then my music will always be changing.”
4. 📖 Share your story. Swift’s songs aren’t surface-level. She gives listeners insight into her emotions and experiences, no matter how vulnerable or raw they might be.
This authenticity lets people relate to her on an intimate level. “Any scenario I’m feeling, I can relate back to her music, I know exactly how she feels…and she knows how I feel,” says one fan.
This doesn’t mean you have to spill your secrets to garner an audience. Instead, remember that people appreciate it when you show up…as yourself. By sharing your story, people find it easier to empathize and relate.
But perhaps the biggest lesson you can learn from Swift comes from her willingness to slow down to recharge her creative battery.
After all, the most prolific creators are able to keep up because they know when to hit pause. So don’t be afraid to take a break — it’s how you’ll keep burnout at bay and avoid singing, “Hi, I'm the problem, it’s me.” 🎶
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They went viral and made money. Now they owe taxes.
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The problem is, it’s…complicated. For many creators, their jobs are composed of multiple income streams, fluctuating earnings, and obscure tax-write offs (does a ring light count as a business expense?).
In this article, journalist Lora Kelly explores the complex new world of creator economy tax returns, and how some influencers are navigating it.
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by Nathan Baschez
After 230,000 words (that’s about 4-5 books) and three years of writing online, columnist Nathan Baschez knows a thing or two about writing stuff people actually want to read.
In this essay, Baschez shares his best tips for writing share-worthy essays. Be warned, this isn’t your typical writing advice to “delete commas” or “avoid adverbs” — it’s more intricate than the usual writing fluff out there.
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Meet Aidan! Aidan’s passion for building a happy, intentional life (and helping others do the same) shines through on his YouTube Channel, where he explores life and self-development with lots of humor and heart. And if you’re a content creator yourself, be sure to also check out Aidan’s online journal where he shares the in-the-moment strategies and lessons learned on his creative journey. 🌻
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name’s Aidan Belizaire, I live in Manchester in the UK.
I currently work as a Marketing Leader, but my dream is to pursue my creative endeavours full-time, or as I like to call it “wake & create”! For now though, I make videos during evenings and weekends and share them on YouTube and other social platforms. I produce content centered around wellbeing, health, and intentional living.
Why do you create? Who is your content for?
A year ago I was chatting with friends over dinner, preaching the benefits of barefoot shoes, I think. They made me realise how much I love experimenting with things that can improve my life, and that I’m passionate about sharing this information with others. Along with my creativity, this led me to YouTube!
Being honest, my content is half for me and half for the viewer (anyone who’s into self-improvement or just curious). I find researching into a topic very valuable as it educates me, and by experimenting, I develop and grow. Then hopefully I present my content in a way that entertains and helps/improves the viewer’s life, which I find incredibly fulfilling and just plain awesome.
The biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began creating content?
No one cares about you as much as you do.
This seems like quite a negative statement, but I don’t see it that way, not anymore. Actually it’s liberating, especially at the beginning. When you’re starting out, low viewership or engagement can seem like confirmation you shouldn’t be putting yourself out there. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You’re actually in a brilliant and experimental part of your journey where without a large following (yet 😉) you can try different types of videos, test out humour, or even step slightly outside of your niche and cultivate your style, voice and message.
One thing you wish you knew before you started?
I spent so long researching and reading about this camera, or that microphone, or how ripple edits are essential to a fast workflow, or which narrative structures guarantee success, etc. etc… I found that, for me anyway, small incremental improvements over time are what make me a better storyteller and content creator — I can see the difference when looking back at older videos.
So, to answer the question — the sheer importance of learning by doing, and working in an area just outside your comfort zone.
In one to two sentences, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring creators or self-development nerds?
You’ll find your people and you’ll do that by expressing your natural vulnerability, creativity, personality, and authenticity.
If you could travel to any other planet (real or fictional), where would you go and why?
I’m a big Avatar fan, so perhaps Pandora (although it’s technically a moon, I hope I can bend the rules!). Maybe I could pull a Jake Sully and be the first Na’vi content creator. Or perhaps I could create the platform itself, I’d call it “I See You(Tube).”
Written by Alice Lemée